Syracuse fans fondly remember Smith as the defensive captain of the 2010 Orange football team that won the Pinstripe Bowl against Kansas State. It was an emphatic win that announced SU had finally turned the program around, and Smith was at the center of it. He went on to have a two-year career in the NFL.
Smith later became a chef and the creator of Amazeballs, which was featured at the Barclays Center and also Smorgasburg in Brooklyn. But when the pandemic hit last year, Smith relocated to Los Angeles and began producing video content through Tastemade, a digital food and travel network, which reaches over 100 million people a month across over 200 countries.
We chatted about the origins of “Mad Good Food” on this week’s The Juice on the Cuse Podcast, presented by SNY.tv.
“I filmed three episodes with Tastemade called ‘Make This Tonight,’” Smith said. “During lunch, one of the producers came up to me and said, ‘Hey, we want to develop a new show.’ That was January. And then three months later we filmed (Mad Good Good) in March.”
But the show is far more than just about making food, as Smith blends his personal stories and Black culture into each episode.
“We have stories of me going to the strip club in Houston and talking about lemon pepper wings,” Smith said. “We’ve got Juneteenth. We’ve got stories of cookouts, and Black culture, and me dunking on my uncle for the first time. It’s all weaved with my personality.”
Each episode of “Mad Good Food” features Smith making a family meal and then two smaller meals for single people.
“You learn how to cook for a group and you learn how to not waste food by taking those same ingredients,” Smith said. “You are transforming it into something different.”
Following the premiere on Thursday, the show will shift to a regular time slot of 8:00 p.m. beginning on Thursday, April 15. There are eight episodes in the first season, and the show can be seen on demand on the Tastemade+ app, and is also available on streaming on a variety of platforms, including AppleTV, Roku, YouTube TV, TiVo+, DirecTV and Sling TV.
Smith continues to follow Syracuse football, and despite a 1-10 season, believes that the Orange is due for a rebound.
“I got faith in Dino (Babers), especially with that offense in the Dome environment,” Smith said. “Hopefully this year we can get past COVID so we can get fans back and have them be that 12th man we always need.”
Afterward, TJO senior columnist Jim Stetchschulte joins me to talk Syracuse basketball. We sound off about the commitment of 2022 four-star wing Kamari Lands, the departures of Kadary Richmond and Marek Dolezaj, and analyze what’s still needed for the 2021-22 roster.